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Past Simple vs Past Continuous

EXERCISE 1. Put the verbs in brackets into the correct tense: simple past or past continuous.

1) Peter and Ann (decide) to redecorate their sitting-room themselves.

2) They (choose) cream paint for the woodwork and apricot for the walls.

3) When John (look) in to see how they (get) on, Ann (mix) the paint, and Peter (wash) down the walls.

4) They (be) glad to see John and (ask) if he (do) anything special that day.

5) He hastily (reply) he (go) to the theatre and (go) away at once, because he (know) they (look) for someone to help them.

6) They (begin) painting, but (find) the walls (be) too wet.

7) While they (wait) for the walls to dry, Ann (remember) she (have) a phone call to make.

8) Peter (start) painting while she (telephone), and (do) a whole wall before Ann (come) back.

9) He (grumble) that she always (telephone).

10) Ann (retort) that Peter always (complain).

11) They (work) in silence for some time.

12) Just as they (start) the third wall, the doorbell (ring).

13) It (be) a friend of Peter's who (want) to know if Peter (play) golf the following weekend.

14) He (stay) talking to Peter in the hall while Ann (go) on painting.

15) At last he (leave).

16) Peter (return), expecting Ann to say something about friends who (come) and (waste) valuable time talking about golf.

17) But Ann nobly (say) nothing.

18) Then Peter (think) he would do the ceiling.

19) He just (climb) the step ladder when the doorbell (ring) again.

20) Ann (say) she (get) tired of interruptions but (go) and (open) the door.

21) It (be) the postman with a letter from her aunt Mary, saying she (come) to spend the weekend with them and (arrive) that evening at 6.30.


EXERCISE 2. Put the verbs in brackets into the simple past or past continuous.

1) I (walk) along Piccadilly when I (realize) that a man with a ginger beard, whom I had seen three times already that afternoon, (follow) me.

2) To make quite sure, I (walk) on quickly, (turn) right, then left and (stop) suddenly at a shop window.

3) In a few minutes the man with the beard (appear) and (stop) at another shop window.

4) I (go) on.

5) Whenever I (stop) he (stop), and whenever I (look) round he (be) still there.

6) He (look) a very respectable type and (wear) very conventional clothes and I (wonder) if he was a policeman or a private detective.

7) I (decide) to try and shake him off.

8) A 74 bus (stand) at the bus stop just beside me.

9) Then the conductor (come) downstairs and (ring) the bell; just as the bus (move) off, I (jump) on it.

10) The man with the beard (miss) the bus but (get) into another 74, which (follow) the first.

11) Both buses (crawl) very slowly along Knightsbridge.

12) Every time the buses (pull) up at a stop, the man (look) out anxiously to see if I (get) off.

13) Finally, at some traffic lights, he (change) buses and (get) into mine.

14) At Gloucester Road Underground, I (leave) the bus and (buy) a ticket at a ticket machine.

15) As I (stand) on the platform waiting for a Circle Line train, my pursuer (come) down the stairs.

16) He (carry) a newspaper and when we (get) into the same compartment, he (sit) in one corner reading it, and I (read) the advertisements.

17) He (look) over the top of the newspaper at every station to see if I (get) out.

18) I (become) rather tired of being shadowed like this, so finally I (go) and (sit) beside the man and (ask) him why he (follow) me.

19) At first he (say) he (not follow) me at all but when I (threaten) to knock him down, he (admit) that he was.

20) Then he (tell) me he (be) a writer of detective stories and (try) to see if it was difficult to follow someone unseen.

21) I (tell) him he hadn't been unseen because I had noticed him in Piccadilly and I (advise) him to shave off his ginger beard if he (not want) his victim to know he (be) followed.


EXERCISE 3. Put the verbs in brackets into the correct tense: simple past or past continuous.

1) He (sit) on the bank fishing when he (see) a man's hat floating down the river. It (seem) strangely familiar.

2) It (snow) heavily when he (wake) up. He (remember) that Jack (come) for lunch and (decide) to go down to the station to meet him in case he (lose) his way in the snowy lanes.

3) When I (reach) the street I (realize) that I (not know) the number of Tom's house. I (wonder) what to do about it when Tom himself (tap) me on the shoulder.

4) As the goalkeeper (run) forward to seize the ball a bottle (strike) him on the shoulder.

5) I (look) through the classroom window. A geometry lesson (go) on. The teacher (draw) diagrams on the blackboard.

6) Most of the boys (listen) to the teacher but a few (whisper) to each other, and Tom (read) a history book. Tom (hate) mathematics; he always (read) history during his mathematics lesson.

7) Everyone (read) quietly when suddenly the door (burst) open and a complete stranger (rush) in.

8) I (go) to Jack's house but (not find) him in. His mother (say) that she (not know) what he (do) but (think) he probably (play) football.

9) This used to be a station and all the London trains (stop) here. But two years ago they (close) the station and (give) us a bus service instead.

10) She (promise) not to report me to the police but ten minutes later I (see) her talking with a policeman and from the expression on his face I am sure she (tell) him all about it.

11) I (pick) up the receiver and (dial) a number. To my surprise I (find) myself listening to an extraordinary conversation. Two men (plan) to kidnap the Prime Minister.

12) I (meet) Paul at the university. We (be) both in the same year. He (study) law, but he (not be) very interested in it and (spend) most of his time practising the flute.

13) The train just (start) when the door (open) and two panting passengers (leap) in.

14) 'What you (do) between 9.00 and 10.00 yesterday?' (say) the detective.

I (clean) my house,' said Mrs Jones. T always clean my house on Saturday mornings.'

15) My neighbour (look) in last night and (say) that he (leave) the district and (go) to Yorkshire, to a new job. I (say) that I (be) very sorry that he (go), and (tell) him to write to me from Yorkshire and tell me how he (get) on.

16) They (build) that bridge when I (be) here last year. They haven't finished it yet.

17) The dentist's waiting room was full of people. Some (read) magazines, others just (turn) over the pages. A woman (knit); a child (play) with a toy car. Suddenly the door (open) and the nurse (say), 'Next, please.'

18) The house next to yours (be) full of policemen and police dogs yesterday. ~

What they (do)? ~

I (hear) that they (look) for drugs. -They (find) any? ~

Yes, I believe one of the dogs (discover) some cannabis.

19) Peter (tell) me yesterday that he (make) his own £5 notes. ~ Don't believe him. He just (pull) your leg.

20) A traffic warden just (stick) a parking ticket to my windscreen when I (come) back to the car. I (try) to persuade him to tear it up but he (refuse).

21) Ann works in the branch where the big robbery (take) place. -She actually (work) there at the time of the raid?

22) When Ann (say) that she (come) to see me the next day, I (wonder) what flowers she would bring. She always brings flowers.

23) While I (wonder) whether to buy the dress or not, someone else (come) and (buy) it.

24) He always (borrow) from me (he borrowed more often than was reasonable) but when I once (ask) him to lend me something, he (say) he (not have) got it before he even (know) what I (want) to borrow.

25) I (go) home on foot and all the time I (have) the impression that I (be) followed (passive). But though I (turn) round several times, I never (see) anybody.

26) I (bump) into Tom yesterday. I (ask) him to join us for lunch tomorrow but he (say) he (have) (had arranged to have) lunch with Ann.

27) My dog (attack) the postman as he (put) the letters into the letter box. The man (thrust) a large envelope into the dog's mouth and of course he (tear) it. Unfortunately the letter (contain) my diploma. I (patch) the diploma up with Sellotape but it still looks a bit odd.

28) How you (break) your leg? -

I (fall) off a ladder when I (put) up curtains. The worst of it (be) that it (be) just before the holidays and I (go) away, (had planned to go away) ~

29) So you (not go) away? -

No, of course not. I (cancel) my bookings and (spend) the holiday hobbling about at home.

30) The curtain just (rise) when somebody at the back of the theatre (shout) 'Fire!' The audience (look) round nervously.

31) As it (rain) the children (play) in the sitting room. Tom was there too. He (try) to write a letter but he (not get on) very well because the children (keep) asking him questions.

32) What you (do) when the doorbell (ring)? ~ I (make) a cake. ~

And what you (do) when you (hear) the bell? ~

I (go) to answer it of course. But when I (open) the door there (be)

nobody there.

33) A few minutes later the bell (ring) again and this time I (find) a man in a peaked cap who (say) he (make) a survey.

34) I (say), '(Be) it you who (ring) this bell a minute ago?'

'No,' he (answer), 'but when I (talk) to your neighbour I (see) a man standing at your door. I think he (go) round to the back of your house.'

35) We (not get) much sleep last night because the people next door (have) a noisy party. I (ring) up the landlord and (say) that his tenants (make) too much noise. He (point out) that it (be) Saturday and that people often (have) parties on Saturday nights. I (say) that the people in his house always (have) parties, (had too many parties)

36) What you (do) before you (get) this job? -I (work) for Brown and Company. ~ And how long you (stay) with them?-

I (stay) for about six months. I (leave) because they always (go) on strike. It (become) quite monotonous.

Date: 2015-12-24; view: 360

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